In 2014, during a publicity tour for the second Season of the hit Netflix show “House of Cards,” lead actor Kevin Spacey made a stop at The Daily Show.
During the interview, Stewart asked Spacey about his time shadowing the House Majority Whip, in researching his role as Frank Underwood. Stewart was, as always, perplexed about the men and women (mostly men) behind the masks, the people who could paralyze the country in a quagmire while posturing for political gain. Spacey’s response drew some attention in political circles.
“I don’t believe them, I don’t believe what they say, I don’t think they’re being absolutely sincere — I think it’s performance art, and most of them are bad actors.”
Stewart asked if the members of Congress were performing for the actor’s benefit, or if they were lying to each other and themselves. Spacey tried coyly to dodge the question with a raised whisper finger, but Stewart pressed.
“I think often the delusion is very deep — it runs very deep,” Spacey finally replied.
“They believe in their hearts what they are saying?” Stewart pressed, more than a little horrified.
“Except for the ones that know they’re full of bullshit,” Spacey closed.
So, why bring up a nearly two year old interview with an actor who only plays a politician on TV? The Congressman that Spacey shadowed was Kevin McCarthy.
We still don’t know, and may never know, the real reason why McCarthy pulled out of the vote to become the new Speaker of the House. His incredibly clumsy handling of the Benghazi statement “didn’t help,” as he admitted. But the minority far right members in Republican House have now brought down two top people—John Boehner, the current speaker, and McCarthy—another moderate Republican, who was supposed to take the top job. In the end, we may never know the full story, but there is no shortage of theories for why headlines writers not getto have a field day making “McCarthyism” jokes.
It’s hard to not think of Spacey’s quote, and wonder exactly how much of that quote was directed at McCarthy.